And now for something completely different: Women in business

Women in business | Housing communications | See Media

As a specialist consultancy providing communications support to the UK housing sector you would be forgiven for wondering why See Media were chosen to support a client looking for ideas to promote their work with older female entrepreneurs.

The client

Older Women in Business is an initiative lead by Isabella Moore CBE looking at issues faced by older female entrepreneurs. Isabella is a Co-Director of COMTEC, which she founded in 1986, and was the first female President of the British Chambers of Commerce and Vice-President of Eurochambres, the association of European Chambers of Commerce. She was also Chairman of the Confederation of West Midlands Chambers of Commerce and CEO of CILT, the National Centre for Languages. Additionally, Isabella’s involvement in the area of women’s enterprise has been as Chair of the National Women’s Enterprise Panel and President of the Eurochambres Women’s Network.

As a successful woman in business herself Isabella had always been surprised how many women she met, who have a great business idea, didn’t feel that they could themselves become entrepreneurs. She has always believed that there are some specific barriers faced by potential older female entrepreneurs that don’t prove a hindrance to younger women or older men embarking on starting their own business. She was keen to understand more and look at ways to support older women with the potential to become entrepreneurs at 50+.

The project

Back in 2018 Isabella conducted a piece of qualitative research to identify key issues and themes affecting older women’s ability or inclination to start up and run a business. It explored the main factors that trigger the intention to set up in business and the associated motivators, enablers and barriers that influence entrepreneurship among women aged over 50.

These findings were then used to inform the next stage – a wider survey which needed to be circulated to several thousand men and women over the age of 50. The resulting data will then be analysed statistically, to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the key issues facing older female entrepreneurs and how best to support them. This is where See Media came in.

For this particular phase of the project to be a success we needed to achieve 250 completed surveys by midnight Wednesday 15th January, just a few weeks from when the survey went live in mid-December.

Our approach

We had quite a bit to work with already, there was some existing branding that needed a tweak to reach a less female dominated audience. Despite the focus being on why women weren’t so open to starting a new business to really get under the skin of the issue we needed to understand why men in later life are twice as likely to set up in business than a woman, in order to draw meaningful comparisons.

Just before the Christmas break we created a new website for the project. The main purpose of the website was to host the survey so that we could stimulate interest in the project via social media. The site was also be used to share the findings of the previous research and to create a platform to start conversations about business support we think should be more tailored to older female entrepreneurs.

As we entered the new year we’d had a disappointing number of surveys completed at just less than 100 , following extensive sharing  of the survey with Isabella’s existing network and the purchase of a database of 5000 contacts. With only another nine days to achieve the 250 target we needed to initiate a response that wouldn’t take long to set up.

Bearing in mind the target audience needed to be the over 50s the obvious cost-effective social media platform to use to reach a wider audience was Facebook. A very simple boosted Facebook post for the project was created in minutes which was highly targeted to reach exactly who we needed to.

The outcome

On a daily basis engagement with the post was good and the number of completed surveys as a result was better than expected. Reaching the final number of 344 completed responses, just eight days later.

Perhaps more surprising the cost was just £32 to sponsor the post over a seven-day period which reached 4,772 people at a cost of 16p per post engagement. From our experience of creating ads across social media we’d expected to achieve the necessary engagement for a relatively modest budget, but we were very pleased with the investment return for this particular campaign.

Did you like this blog?

Do you have a similar project you need support on? Contact me, Sarah Thomas ( and I’d be delighted to how we can help – even if it is a little different.

Sarah Thomas is an Associate Director at See Media